When can you launch it? How much is it going to cost?
These seem to be the only two questions clients really care about when it comes to redesigning a website.
Yet, a redesign is an opportunity for so much more. It's a chance to audit the current site's assets, KPIs, target audience, and user interface to determine what the site needs to do, why it exists, and for whom it should be relevant. A simple makeover can't accomplish this. You need to understand so much more to create a website that actually serves the company and supports its goals.
This depth of understanding can be difficult to accomplish during the proposal phase or even during the first few weeks of a relationship. It's why the growth-driven design approach makes so much sense: Remove the risk from the website redesign process by having a systematic approach to making consistent updates and improvements to a website ever single month. This way, new insights into the sales and marketing process and data about how and why visitors use the site inform design decisions.
But whether you sell growth-driven design or complete website redesign and launch projects, you need to do your research and gain a deep understanding of the brand, its current site, and its wishes for a new online home. Without a thorough investigation, both the form and function of the website will fall flat.
The Ultimate List of Questions to Ask Before Redesigning a Website
We put together this comprehensive list of questions you should consider asking at the beginning of a website project. Some of these might have already been covered during the proposal phase; others are prompts to spark a conversation between you and your client.
1) Why do you want a new website?
2) What is your business’s unique value proposition?
3) What is the purpose of the site?
4) Do you have SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals for your website that will help you know that the site is a profitable and successful marketing investment?
5) How quickly do you want to achieve these goals?
6) Who are your top three competitors?
7) What elements do you like and dislike on their websites?
8) Will this website redesign be a complete overhaul with a new structure and features or simply a new look for your current site?
9) What types of reports and data based on website usage would you like to be able to review on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis?
10) How to plan to market the site once it is launched?
11) What is your budget for this project?
12) What is your yearly budget for website improvements?
13) Do you have specific accessibility requirements beyond what is outlined by WAI-ARIA?
15) Where is your site currently hosted?
16) Do you know the level of hosting you need?
17) Do you have access, and can you provide usernames and passwords?
18) Do you ever have large spikes in traffic that we will need to plan for from a hosting standpoint?
19) Do you have or need an SSL certificate?
20) Do you know what level of SSL certificate you need?
21) What do you like and dislike about your current sites?
22) What are some sites that you like the style of, features, and functionality of?
23) Do you currently use marketing automation software?
24) Do you use email marketing, landing page, or other tools on your site?
25) Do you use a CRM to store sales and customer information?
26) Do you require multi-layer access permission for your website?
27) Do you require a membership-only section of the website?
28) Do you plan to post audio files to the site?
29) Do you have a video hosting service or will you be uploading videos to Vimeo or YouTube to embed videos on your site?
30) Will you need people to log in on the site either with a username and password or by using social logins?
31) Will users need the ability to post product reviews?
32) Do you want users to be able to comment on blog posts and other types of content?
33) Do you need to integrate chat features?
34) Will you need an internal search engine for your site?
35) Will you need to support multiple languages on your site?
36) Do you want people to be able to share content from your website?
37) Will visitors have to enter credit card information and other personal details on any section of the website?
38) Do you plan to sell anything through your website? Will we need to find an ecommerce platform to handle carts, customer accounts, discount codes, and payment processing?
39) Do you need to run multiple sites on multiple domains from one CMS?
40) Will you be running ads on your site?
41) Would you like to budget for user testing during the design and development phase?
42) Do you need to publish an event calendar on your website?
43) Do you have a site architecture completed?
44) What key pieces of information should be available on every single page of your website?
45) Do you use call tracking to track online campaigns?
46) Do you use Google Analytics or another analytics provider?
47) What tools and apps do you use to run your business?
48) Would you like to be able to integrate these third-party services with your site?
49) What are your most trafficked pages?
50) Which site pages rank high in SERPs?
51) What percentage of visits are from organic sources?
52) What percentage of traffic are referrals from other sites?
53) What percentage of traffic is from social media sites?
54) What percentage of traffic is from email marketing?
55) What percentage of traffic is from direct or people who type your URL into the search bar?
56) What percentage of traffic is from mobile devices?
57) What percentage of traffic is from tablet devices?
58) What sources -- social, referral, organic, etc. -- generate traffic from mobile and tablet users?
59) What metric(s) do you use to measure the success of your blog? Visits, conversions, or leads?
60) What metric(s) do you use to measure the success of your website? Visits, conversions, or leads?
61) What metric(s) do you use to measure the success of your email marketing? Visits, conversions, or leads?
62) What are your top performing landing pages?
63) What are your top performing blog posts?
64) What are your top performing keywords?
65) How many visits does your site get each month?
66) How many pageviews does your site get each month?
67) How many leads do you generate each month?
68) How long do people typically spend on your website?
69) What is the bounce rate for your site?
70) What is the average amount of sales generated by your site each month?
71) What is the page load time of your site?
72) Is your current site optimized for mobile users?
73) How many pages on your site are indexed?
74) How many inbound links are pointing to your current site?
75) Do you collect information from visitors and store this in a CRM or use it to inform marketing efforts?
76) What fields do you currently or want to include on forms?
77) What information is a nice-to-have versus a must-have?
78) Do you currently use progressive profiling on your forms?
79) Do you want to capture lead information from videos on your site?
80) Do you send email marketing communications?
81) What types of emails do you send to subscribers, prospects, leads, and customers?
82) Do you currently include relevant call-to-actions on content posts?
83) Have you established your lead scoring criteria?
84) Would you like to run predictive lead scoring every few months to automatically determine the properties and weight of each factor to create a lead score?
85) Have you performed A/B tests of your landing pages and calls-to-action to increase clickthrough rates?
86) Do you want automated emails to be triggered by actions customers take on your website?
87) Do you want the ability to create, edit, and publish landing pages and site pages?
88) Will you be running ads -- native, display, search, etc. -- to drive traffic to your site?
89) Are on-site meetings required?
90) Do you have a preference for a tool or system for virtual meetings?
91) Will you be managing the site once it is relaunched?
92) Will you require training on how to properly maintain the site?
93) Who all is responsible for reviewing and providing feedback on the site?
94) Who will give final approval for the site prior to launch?
95) Will your copy need to be reviewed and approved by legal and compliance?
97) Would you prefer to give feedback on the site wireframes, designs, and staging site through email or a project management or creative collaboration system?
98) Do you have an existing content management system you prefer or would you like our suggestions on the proper CMS?
99) Do you have a documented content strategy?
100) What types of content will you publish on the site?
101) Do you currently have duplicate content on your site?
102) Will you be updating and reusing content and/or images from your current website?
103) Will you be writing the content for the site?
104) Will you be uploading and formatting the content for the site?
105) Do you create ebooks, whitepapers, and other resources are placed behind a form?
106) Have you created buyer personas? How many do you have and will we need to set up conversion funnels for each persona?
107) Do you have photos and visuals to use for the site that can be used for commercial purposes or should we budget for stock or custom photography?
108) Would you like to personalize content so that the content shown is targeted and relevant for different types of visitors?
109) Will external sources of content -- say from an RSS feed -- need to be included in your site?
110) How often will you be updating the content on your site?